Pubdate: Thu, 20 Apr 2006
Source: Creston Valley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
Author: George Kosinski


To the Editor

(Re:"RCMP reveals plans for 2006", April 6, Advance, p. 1)

RCMP Sgt. Mark Fisher claims that evidence of a busy detachment is 
borne out by statistics.  Let's have a closer look at those statistics.

"Impaired driving prosecutions jumped by about 50 per cent."  That 
looks good on the surface, but it takes only a few minutes of 
paperwork to generate a prosecution.  Far more relevant is the 
percentage of increase, if any, in impaired driving convictions, 
which require lengthy court appearances by numerous individuals, 
especially police officers needed to testify to secure those 
convictions.  Are prosecutors to driving without due care and 
attention so police officers can spend more time looking for 
marijuana?  Could this be why it is the increase in prosecutions, 
rather than a less impressive statistic on convictions, that is being 

AS related statistic, "Motor vehicle accidents increased by 20 per 
cent," is puzzling.  For example, if 50 percent more drunk drivers 
were losing their licences and/or going to jail, one would expect 
fewer accidents, not more.  In a similar fashion, Fisher trumpets a 
64-per-cent increase in assault investigations, rather than a 
specified increase, if any, in assault convictions.  And the same 
could be said for "Charges related to possession of weapons jumped 
dramatically."  Again, why is it charges, rather than convictions, 
that are being trumpeted?

With respect to the increase in domestic violence, one would expect 
perpetrators to be less reluctant, not more so, to engage in this 
behaviour - which is reprehensible as well as illegal - if police 
officers are busier responding to this complaint,  And again, why is 
there no mention of an increase in convictions of perpetrators of 
domestic violence?

And yet, at the same time that the RCMP doesn't have enough time to 
patrol the roads sufficiently to reduce vehicular accidents and 
discourage street racing, or to patrol residential neighbourhoods 
sufficiently to discourage domestic violence, it has the time to 
increase drug charges (read "marijuana charges", since you can be 
confident they comprise the vast bulk of that 100 % figure) by 100 
per cent, investigations of cocaine possession by 225% and accumulate 
sufficient evidence to justify drug search warrants.

To review, according to the statistics provided by Fisher, punishing 
people for having drugs arbitrarily designated as "illegal" is a 
higher priority for the RCMP in Creston than keeping drunk drivers 
off the road, keeping violent spouses from beating their partners to 
a pulp and keeping violent parents from beating their 
children.  Readers may have noted that the statistics related to 
drugs also do not mention convictions.

IF, just as I surmise is the case with drunk driving, domestic 
violence and weapons charges, the conviction statistics for drug 
"offenses" are less than impressive, that would support the opinion 
already shared by many that it's a waste of valuable police resources 
to spend inordinate amounts of time hunting for otherwise law-abiding 
citizens whose drugs of preference happen to differ from those of the 
cigar-smoking alcoholic politicians intent on criminalizing those who 
don't share their predilections.

You can charge anybody with anything anytime, but that doesn't mean 
you're doing a good job, especially when few charges result in 
convictions and your own statistics suggest that your focus is on 
victimless, rather than violent, crimes.

George Kosinski

Gibsons, B.C.
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